The Diocese of Grand Rapids is committed to protecting children and adults from harm. Our safe environment program aims to prevent sexual abuse within our community and to help heal the wounds of past victims. Our work to protect young people and vulnerable adults is directed by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,a comprehensive set of procedures established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in June 2002 and revised in 2005, 2011 and 2018. If you need to report an instance of abuse, please call the Michigan Attorney General's hotline, 844-324-3374.
The following resources are meant to serve as a guide for priests, church staff, school leaders and staff, volunteers and parents.
Training and Ongoing Education
Virtus online provides training programs and ongoing education on the prevention of child sexual abuse. Click the link above to register or to learn more.
From the USCCB:
Child and Youth Protection
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People | Video: How the Charter Protects Children & Young People (YouTube)
2021 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter
Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons (English | Español | Vietnamese)
Frequently asked questions on safe environments
From the Diocese:
Healing Our Church Diocesan Report:
Read the full diocesan report at/Lea el informe diocesano completo en:(English|Español)
Diocesan Policy on the Sexual Abuse of Minors
Safe environment policies and practices in the diocese (English | Español)
Resources for National Child Abuse Prevention Month (April)
From the Bishop:
The Charter at 20: A milestone in the Church's efforts to protect and heal-A 20 años del Estatuto: Un hito en los esfuerzos de la iglesia para proteger y sanar (FAITH Grand Rapids magazine June-junio 2022)
Video message from Bishop Walkowiak on the clergy abuse scandal (Feb. 7, 2019)
Reflection on Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis' apostolic letter ordering global action by the Church in responding to and reporting sexual abuse (English | Español)
Letters to the faithful
Letter with updates from the 2019 USCCB Spring General Assembly - June 2019 (English | Español)
Reflection on the USCCB General Fall Assembly – November 2018 (English | Español)
Follow-up letter regarding the scandal – September 2018 (English | Español)
Initial letter regarding the scandal – August 2018 (English | Español)
News and Updates:
Independent audit finds diocese in compliance with safe environment practices (Sept. 2019) Read more
How to speak to your children about difficult subjects (Diocese of Erie, PA)
So there is no doubt: The Catholic Church's solution to end the abuse of children (Flyer)
National Review Board and John Jay College of Criminal Justice Reports
Order for the Blessing of a Victim of Crime or Oppression
The Protection of Minors in the Church - Vatican website for responsibility, accountability and transparency launched in connection with the abuse summit in Rome in February 2019.